Help with T

T’s new foster mama texted me late last night and was curious if I had any advice on how to discipline T.  I don’t.  It seems T has started his lies again.  She told me that he lies to her about absolutely EVERYTHING!  Why?  We do NOT know.  His new foster mama is seriously awesome.  She is kind, yet firm and very stable.  But, T has started his lying behaviors again and he wasn’t very nice to his brother, Sad Eyes last week.  It’s so hard with T because very little phases him.  He is quite introverted when it comes to his feelings, so getting him to talk if he is not interested in doing so is incredibly hard.  So, I told her about when I told T the story, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” it seemed to really hit home with him when I told him that story at our house.  Every time that I sensed he might be lying, I would remind him about trust and how I wanted to trust him so badly, but that I needed him to be honest.  So, we will see how that works at their house.  He got t.v. and video games taken away for a week.  That might work too.  I really don’t know?  T has been trained that to survive he must lie.  It is so ingrained into his being that it is hard to change that personality trait.  I do know this, he is in a home where there is consistency and unconditional love.  I’m hoping and praying that he sees and feels this, so that he will let go of the lying and embrace telling the truth. 

Updates on the boys

T and The Baby are doing great in their new foster home with their brother, Sad Eyes.  Their other brother will hopefully be able to move in with them soon.  I get videos, pictures, and texts almost daily and it has made this transition so much easier than I had expected.  We miss them!  But, I still get to see them and hear about them and know how happy they are to be together.  That makes it all worth it!  T told his new foster mama that his “favorite” thing about being at her house is, “getting to live with my brothers.”  My heart smiled when I heard that he said that.  We did the right thing!  These boys are together!  

Their mother has stopped calling and visiting.  She has removed herself from the picture.  I don’t know why and I’m sure T and Sad Eyes notice her absense in their lives, but they have not showed it with any new behaviors.  Years of counseling is in the future for these boys, I am sure.  But, they’re together and enjoying summer! 

T and The Baby will leave.

T and The Baby will leave to go and live with Sad Eyes at the end of May.  This is actually a VERY good thing and something I am very supportive of and happy about.  Often times in foster care siblings get separated and never reunified. That is a tragedy.  But, that will not happen in this case.  The boys will live together in the foster home where Sad Eyes lives now and will stay there until reunification or adoption.  Sad Eyes is doing so much better in his therapeutic home and his foster mother has agreed to take all of the brothers, so that they can live together.  This is a success in foster care.  I will miss the boys, especially The Baby.  We have had him since birth and he and I are so bonded, but this is still a good thing.  It will be hard, but in the end extremely good for all of the boys!  

Christmas Visit for T and Sad Eyes

Sad Eyes and T haven’t seen each other since Thanksgiving.  The boys live 3 hours apart.  So, today we’re meeting up, just the boys and their foster families for a Christmas visit!  If I haven’t mentioned it before, I will now.  Sad Eyes has the BEST foster mama!  She seriously is amazing!  She and I talk via text almost every single day.  We share pictures of the boys and stories of what they are doing.  Best of all is the support she and I can give each other as we care for boys who have been through trauma.  It is overwhelming sometimes to parent children from hard places.  Having her to talk to has proved to be a kind of therapy for me as I listen to and help a little boy very hurt by his first family.  The boys each are so different in how they handle their emotions and feelings.  T holds a lot inside and hides his feelings.  Sad Eyes lets it all out and acts out his feelings.  But, even though the boys react very differently to life, they have experienced life together for the past 6 years, so getting them together is of a high importance.  Remaining close and sharing new positive experiences is a goal for both foster families.  So, we’re off!  Driving three hours to get these precious boys together!  

The brothers had a visit.

Yesterday T, The Baby and their other two brothers all had a visit.  I met the the foster mama of Sad Eyes and she is perfect for him!  I almost cried!  When he saw me, he ran to me and hugged me.  Then he played with T.  They chased each other around the halls of DHR and threw bouncy balls for each other to catch. Their two year old brother was there too and he is a ball of energy.  He babbled and yelled and happily played with his brothers.  But, back to Sad Eyes and his foster mama.  They walked into the building together, he clung to her leg.  When she told of the adventures they’ve had together so far, her eyes sparkled.  She loves him!  She loves him so much!  She’s a single mama and she is trained in theraputic care.  Sad Eyes is her one and only and it’s just the two of them and three loving dogs at her house.  They like the same things and really enjoy being around each other.  Does Sad Eyes still have his rages?  Yes, he does, but his foster mama is trained in how to handle them and I’m happy to report that Sad Eyes is getting amazing care along with living with a mama who really really loves him!  My heart is so happy!  

Rage: Part 2

Sad Eyes needs a therapeutic environment.  It is not that he doesn’t also need a loving mommy, daddy, and family, but right now he just isn’t ready for that.  His downward spiral reached a point of him being a danger to himself and others.  His behavior was erratic.  He didn’t listen to warnings of danger.  It broke my heart.  But, I do believe and I do know that his social worker is going to do everything in her power to get Sad Eyes the best help that is out there and available to him.

The day after Sad Eyes left, T and I went on the hour drive to see Sad Eyes and his mom and granny.  We showed up at DHR and T recognized the van that he was used to being driven around in.  He asked if he’d be coming back with me after the visit and I assured him that yes, he was coming home with me after his family visit.  We entered DHR, Sad Eyes was sitting across the waiting room and jumped up as soon as he saw me.  He ran over and wrapped his arms around my waist, “I go home with you,” he said, not as a question, but as a statement.  My heart sank.  Sweet precious boy, I wish you could.  I wish you were ready for the love I want to give you.  I hugged him.  Then, we all walked into the back where we had a meeting to discuss the case with all of the members of the team.  The point of this whole thing is to get these boys back with their biological relatives, hopefully their mother.  So, we talked about what needed to be done while the boys played in a separate room at DHR.  It is then that I learned the sad truth.  Sad Eyes has been dealing with these “outbursts” and “rages” for years.  He has lived with his mother, his granny and several other of his biological family members, in two different foster homes and had a stay in a behavioral health facility, all before coming to our house.  No matter where he lives, he acts out in this way.  I am not the first person to see it.  I hope I’m one of the last, but we can’t be sure.  We all agreed that he needs help.  He needs therapy and a safe environment where he can be free to start his healing.  He has been through so much, way more than any little person should ever experience and he’s got to be able to let that out.  He needs a therapeutic environment, we all agreed.  So, we won’t see Sad Eyes for a while, but we plan on visiting him wherever he stays, so that T and he can stay connected.  I also plan to take T to see his other younger brother who is in a different foster home.  That foster mother and I have met and plan to keep the boys in contact while they are in foster care.  We don’t want them to lose that brotherly bond that they have.  So, lots of visits are in our future.

How long will T be with us?  I don’t know.  All I know is that T IS ready for a loving family.  He is ready for going to school every day, for having his meals made for him, for being taken to the doctor when he’s sick, for being read to at night, for having someone help him with his spelling words, and for love.  He’s ready.  So, as long as he’s with us that is what we’ll do.

Rage: Part 1

I loved him.  He was my Sad Eyes.  I got him all ready for school.  I packed his little lunch.  I hadn’t seen the “rages” or “outbursts” yet that were written about in his already very long case file.  This precious little boy had only been in foster care for one month, yet after coming to us I learned he had already been placed in two different foster homes and a residential treatment facility for a short psychiatric stay.  All of this at six years old.  He was my Sad Eyes.  I dressed him up, I took his picture with a little sign that said, “First Day of School.”  He just needs a mommy, I told my mother-in-law, that is all he needs, a mommy who loves him.  I walked him to his new class, I kissed his forehead goodbye.  I left the building feeling really good about Sad Eyes’ first day.  His teacher had been especially picked out for just him.  She was a soft spoken, kind teacher with a huge heart and lots of love to give.  We were set up for success, I felt.  I did not receive a call from the school that first day, but when I came back to pick my kindergartener up, I knew something had gone terribly wrong.  The school counselor approached my vehicle with a very worried expression on her face.  The words, “it took four adults to control him,” and “I am scared for you and your family,” were used.  My heart sank.  “He has never been aggressive towards my children or myself,” I told her.  Would they let him come back, I asked.  She said that they would, but we would all have to stay in good communication with each other to make sure the situation was handled to the best of everyone’s ability.  Then, the rages started at home.  Uncontrollable, violent, physical rages.  Screaming and yelling rages.  All that it took was the words, “no,” or “not right now,” and Sad Eyes would fly into a rage.  Tuesday night was the worst rage at home.  I video taped what I could for the social worker to see.  She already knew, she had experienced them herself, but she wanted evidence to show the counselor, so maybe she could get him the help that he needs.  Wednesday morning we talked and she said she was afraid Sad Eyes couldn’t be around others right now, but that the best children’s therapeutic home was full and that the waiting list could take months.  Could I hold on until then, she wondered.  Of course I could, I told her.  I am no quitter.  I was sure we could handle this, it would just be hard.  Hard to watch a child in such torture.  A child who is so obviously hurting and he knows no way to express it and can’t keep his body in control.  Then, Wednesday night happened and it was the worst night of my life.  I can’t imagine a more terrifying scene.  Well, I guess I can, but I don’t want to.  To make a very very long story short, Sad Eyes wanted to go to the playground and once he saw one he bolted.  It didn’t matter that there was a busy road in between us and the playground, he was going.  I dropped everything and ran to catch him, yelling for him to stop!  I could see the cars coming!  As his little feet reached the edge of the pavement, I caught hold of his shirt and threw my arms around him.  “Oh my goodness, Sad Eyes!  Look!  Cars!  Big cars!  You could have gotten hit!  You can’t run away from me!”  He didn’t hear me, he fell into a pit of emotion and didn’t come back up for air for a good hour and a half.  I feel like I now know what a wrestler must feel like after a match.  I had to use my entire body to keep this angry little boy from running back into that street.  No matter how many times I tried to talk to him or tell him that we’d get to go he didn’t hear me.  His rage went on and on.  People stopped their cars to help me as they saw a 5’2″ woman holding a screaming, kicking, hitting, raging six year old.  He was somewhere else, his body was in fight mode.  No words were heard, nothing I said or did made it any better.  When I let go, he would try to run.  When I looked into his eyes, I saw nothing, but rage.  We finally were able to get Sad Eyes closer to my vehicle and I stood beside it as he held the door and kicked at us still screaming.  My daughter had to call our social worker.  Three of them came.  Nobody knew how many it would take to get him into their car.  Would the police have to be called, it was an option we all talked about.  It was scary.  I was bawling, my daughter was bawling.  The people around me just stared in disbelief.  It was like a scene out of a terribly scary movie and an hour and a half after it started it stopped.  Like the switch that had been flipped to begin this, was then flipped off.  Sad Eyes looked up at me, took my hand in his and said in his little lisp, “I sawee bout dat.”  “What,” I asked in shock.  “You know, bout wat I dun, I sawee bout dat,” he said.

Sad Eyes 

Sad Eyes.  That will be his blog name.  He is my new 6 year old foster son, the youngest of the two boys.  He is precious and adorable.  He also has a speech delay and the biggest saddest eyes that I have ever seen.  I hope and I pray we can help him, so that I get to see those eyes sparkle someday.  He has witnessed and been through so much in his short little life.  It’s time we fill it with some happy!  Time for some joy!

I held him while he cried and cried and sobbed and sobbed tonight.  It was the mournful sounds of grief.  A sound I have made before, but I have never heard a child make it.  It was the sound of broken.  It broke me too.

Meeting the two brothers

I met the two brothers tonight.  The boys have been in an emergency placement temporary foster home for the last three weeks since they came into foster care.  Their first foster mother is elderly and although she is a wonderful person who has taken in probably over 40 children through the years, she just can’t keep up with these two active little boys anymore.  They need a more than temporary place to stay.  That is where we come in.  We are an active young family with a huge back yard, living in an excellent school system, with a huge support network and plenty of love to give.  So, the boys will move in tomorrow.

I wanted to meet the boys tonight; however, before their social worker just shows up at their house tomorrow and takes them and all of their personal belongings and drives them to our home.  How incredibly scary for a 6 and 7 year old.  I met them at their foster parent’s church.  I played outside with the boys, ate dinner with them, flew paper airplanes and eventually sat them down and said, “I have a big house, with four other children to play with.  We have a trampoline and games and would really love to have you over.  Would you like to come and stay at our house for a little while?”  The younger boy didn’t even acknowledge that I was talking, but his older brother looked at me with big eyes and nodded his head, yes.  I didn’t expect any sort of response from them.  I just wanted to make this a little bit easier on them.  They have been through a LOT this month and I just wanted to make this transition from a temporary foster home to our home a little bit less scary.  I hope it helped!

So, tomorrow before noon, I will have 6 kids.  Yes, six!  I never in about one million zillion years thought this would ever happen, but here it goes!  GOD IS GOOD and so in control!  We have been praying for a long time that He would show us our path and while many many doors have slammed shut, this window just flew wide open!  Here we go!

Two Brothers

We got the call!  We will be adding two precious souls to our family tomorrow… Brothers!  One is 6 and one is 7.  I know this will be hard at times and overwhelming at times too, but I am so excited to serve God by loving these brothers!  God is so good!